In early December, MSTA surveyed its certified members to get their feelings on issues facing teachers, including whether or not standardized testing should be suspended this year.
More than 6,000 teachers responded, and they were overwhelmingly in favor of eliminating standardized testing in 2020-21. Nearly 94 percent of those responding were in favor of suspending standardized testing.
Additionally, 80 percent of teachers said they feel significant more stress than this time last year, and nearly 60 percent of teachers said they have considered leaving the profession.
More highlights of the survey can be found below.
I've been a Missouri teacher for 30 years. Students have looked to their teachers for knowledge and guidance for years, but in a pandemic they are also looking for adults to be the voice of reason that says, "It's all going to be ok," and "you are more important than your test scores." To test amidst the health crisis and financial upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic is to be oblivious to the stress and disquiet our students are experiencing. It will put undue pressure on an already overburdened system that is trying to reassure, educate, feed and provide services for our patrons on a shoestring budget.
Please let the professionals of this field, who have spent countless hours on professional education and development, and have dedicated their lives to this profession, lead the conversation instead of being at the whim of politicians who have an agenda that is not in support of Missouri children.
School districts, including my own, are working for students' social and emotional development first in order for academic development to really take hold and have meaning. Local districts should be able to chart their own progress this year so as to avoid unneeded pressure. Testing would upset timelines in this progress.
Five absent days used to be cause for concern. I have students that are missing 20-30 days ALREADY and we haven't reached our Winter break. Students need time with us! They need time to learn from their teacher, in person. They need me to formatively assess their learning and meet them at point of need. They need my redirection and communication. They need additional intervention, remediation, and extension time. State Testing takes weeks for school districts. We have to teach students how to use the program and how to use their test taking strategies on a program we don't use regularly. Then it takes weeks of our instruction to actually GIVE the tests. Students receive varying levels of accommodation that require them to be pulled from our classes during instructional time so that interventionists will have time to give all students what they need. State Testing is well intentioned, but NOT what is best for students.
I am a middle school teacher and have been for 25 years. Teaching this year has been so extraordinarily stressful. We are expected to make bricks without straw. During the school shutdown everyone said that they would support teachers and we'd have great funding. Now our budgets are slashed every time we turn around. I have students in the classrooms and I have students I'm teaching virtually all day long.
I'm worried about how I'm going to get everything across that the students need, especially when my students are almost half a year behind from where they should be with the shuts downs last Spring.
I'm terrified that more of my students and coworkers are going to get sick.
I'm worried that I'm going to get sick and die.
At this point, I can't even begin to think about how I'm going to prepare my students for a standardized test in the spring when we're all worried about getting sick, and my students are worried about how they're going to get a Christmas gift when their family hasn't been working for eight months.
Testing is the least important thing for my students to worry about right now.
This is the first year I've actually ever thought that I'm really not valued as a teacher. I don't think anyone is. I'm really considering leaving the profession after 19 years.
This year has pushed me to the final edge. I do not feel valued at the district, state, and national level as an educator. My mental and physical health should be a priority, and it does not seem that they are. I have felt that I have been choosing between teaching and spending time with my family too often. We are currently teaching with packed classrooms during a pandemic because it’s what parents prefer. I have not felt safe this year teaching 25 sixth graders at a time where social distancing is impossible.
This is my 31st year of teaching, and I there are not words to express how much I regret my choice to continue past year 30. About one month ago, I printed my resignation with the intent to turn it in at semester. I have it sitting right here at my desk. I know I won't though, because I could not do that to the kids or to my district. However, I think about it every. single. day. This is not the job I signed up for.